We were pleased to recently speak with Tim Swaan of Cygnus Pictures. Cygnus Pictures is a video production service, based in North Haverhill, New Hampshire. For more information, visit Cygnus Pictures online at www.cygnuspictures.com, call Tim at (818) 823-76002 or email him at tim@cygnuspictures.com
What services does your business provide and how can you help small businesses?
I am passionate about telling great stories through video and helping small businesses and non-profits succeed in the digital marketing age. At the end of the day, I am a video producer, but it can be difficult for small businesses to see or understand how video can help their business thrive. Video on social media is a massive marketing tool that businesses of all sizes are finding themselves compelled to use. The challenge is that social media and social media marketing are demanding more and more of a business owner’s time and it is not necessarily a field in which they may have confidence, comfort or know-how. Social media can sometimes be a distraction that takes away from operating your business and following your true passion. I have a passion for helping small businesses succeed by helping to tell their story. To help them budget for this, I offer a subscription model so they can have good-looking and good-sounding materials they can use, at a cost that is not astronomical. With my subscription model, they get the opportunity to have a certain number of videos made per month but spread the cost throughout the year to help feed the video marketing funnel.
Why would I use your service and not just make the video myself?
Businesses often use cell phones or cheap handy cams with inappropriate audio or bad lighting which can really leave a poor impression. It’s my job to help get social media content looking sharp, which is incredibly important because anything that does not look professional can come across cheaply to potential customers, and perception is king when attracting new customers! It’s not just about knowing how to technically make a video; people forget that there are years of training and experience to assure a professional quality product. I can make sure videos are staged, produced, edited and presented professionally for maximum effect. Like any service, my services do cost money, but not doing anything or doing it poorly may very well be costing businesses money in terms of lost potential clients. You need to really use the nuances of storytelling and story structure to keep people watching. It’s about knowing how to use a sense of place to give context to your story, and how to use lighting and design to bring further meaning to your story. Ask any social media user if he/she would be more likely to read a block of text or click to watch a video. Most people are going to choose to watch the video, so shouldn’t that video be yours?
What if I am selling a service and not a product? How can video help me?
Video is not just for businesses who are selling products. My favorite quote by Simon Sinek, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” It’s really about making your passion for your business infectious! In video, you can tell that story and in telling that story, you can get in front of more customers in a way that’s relatable. People just love it when someone is passionate about what they do and conveying that builds trust with customers.
Can you tell us a little about your experience in video production?
I received my BA in Communications and Film from Emerson College, and after getting my start in the Upper Valley at WNNE-TV and Dartmouth, I spent ten years based in Los Angeles working on a wide assortment of projects in the entertainment industry as an Editor and Director of Photography. Much of that time there was spent travelling throughout the world and domestically, working on a number of documentaries and television shows including work on “Under the Sun” and the National Geographic Channel’s series “Rock Stars.” My award-winning work has been seen on NBC, CBS, FOX, VS (OLN), VERIA, NGC, ESPN as well as internationally through syndication. Since 1998 I have also worked as a freelance Video Producer under my own moniker Cygnus Pictures. For the past six years, I have been working as a Video Content Producer for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
What are your ties to the local area?
I was actually born in the Netherlands and raised in Southeast England. At the age of 14, my mother and I moved to Bradford, Vermont where I attended Oxbow High School. I went from a private English school to a rural American high school which was certainly a culture shock! (My grandmother was actually an elementary school teacher in Bradford.) From there, I went to Boston to attend Emerson College. Later, I packed up my car and moved to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. During that time, my mother was living in Piermont, New Hampshire and I needed to help her secure more stable housing. We found a house in North Haverhill and my mother lived there for a while. Eventually, due in part to the impact of the stock market crash of 2008 on the entertainment industry, as well as a desire for me to move back home, I moved back to the area and have since gotten married and now have a 9-month old daughter.